#1 GAO: 437,000 deportation cases backlogged, hearings delayed to 2022 by algernonpj 13.06.2017 14:32


GAO: 437,000 deportation cases backl.ogged, hearings delayed to 2022
by Paul Bedard | Jun 8, 2017, 8:06 AM

The government's processing of illegal immigrants has broken down as the number of backlogged court cases has grown to a ratio of 1,456 per judge, prompting some courts to schedule deportation cases as far out as February 2022, according to a new Government Accountability Office assessment.

The audit agency tabulated a total of 437,000 pending cases, double what it was in 2006. What's more, the normal wait time for illegals to face a judge has grown from 198 days to 404 days.

But an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies found that in some of the 58 immigration courts that employ about 300 immigration judges the backlog has become so bad that hearing dates are being set as far out as 2022.

CIS pulled this nugget out of the 153-page GAO report that highlights the backlog issue:

"As of February 2, 2017, half of courts had master calendar hearings scheduled as far as January 2018 or beyond and had individual merits hearings, during which immigration judges generally render case decisions, scheduled as far as June 2018 or beyond. However, the range of hearing dates varied; as of February 2, 2017, one court had master calendar hearings scheduled no further than March 2017 while another court had master calendar hearings scheduled in May 2021, more than 4 years in the future. Similarly, courts varied in the extent to which individual merits hearings were scheduled into the future. As of February 2, 2017, one court had individual hearings scheduled out no further than March 2017 while another court had scheduled individual hearings 5 years into the future, February 2022."

The doubling of pending cases, however, is not the result of more illegals crossing the border, said GAO, according to the CIS analysis. The actual reason: Courts are taking much longer to get through individual cases

"Incredibly, GAO found, ‘the number of immigration court cases completed annually declined by 31 percent from fiscal year 2006 to fiscal year 2015, from about 287,000 cases completed in fiscal year 2006 to about 199,000 completed in 2015,' even as the number of immigration judges increased by 17 percent over that 10-year period," said CIS fellow and former Immigration and Naturalization Service counsel Andrew R. Arthur.

In his analysis, Arthur suggested that some of the backlog can also be blamed on the judges granting multiple case continuances.


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